New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd dealt a death blow to Barack Obama’s standing in the Democratic Party with a scathing column over the weekend that excoriated the former president for hosting a birthday party earlier this month with some 200 of his “closest” friends even as concerns over COVID-19 have reignited across the country.
Writing Saturday, Dowd said the event, which she characterized as a “big, lavish, new-money party at [Obama’s] sprawling mansion on the water,” hurt Democrats by effectively cementing the party’s reputation as one of pomp and extravagance rather than as a champion of the working class.
“The party crystallized the caricature of the Democratic Party that Joe Biden had to fight against in order to get elected,” Dowd wrote. “It was as far from Flint and Scranton as you can imagine: an orgy of the 1 percent — private jets, Martha’s Vineyard, limousine liberals and Hollywood whoring — complete with a meat-free menu.”
She went on: “We already knew Obama gravitated to stars but it was disillusioning to see it on such a grand scale last weekend.”
Leftists fire back at NYT op-ed
Of course, that’s not to say the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist didn’t take some flak for her comments on Obama’s 60th birthday bash. Many on the left were quick to defend the 44th president, Fox News reported Sunday, including some who alleged Dowd was just “jealous” she wasn’t on the invite list.
Fox added: “And there was more than a little Trump ‘whataboutism’ in the fast-flying tweets.”
Trump and the republicans have one spreader event after another. But Maureen Dowd attacks Barack Obama’s 60th Birthday bash. Everybody there was vaccinated Maureen. It was no spreader event. And you weren’t invited.
— D-LIB (@whittler_e) August 14, 2021
Notably, the latest guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that even vaccinated Americans wear masks in “area[s] of substantial or high transmission” as cases of the coronavirus tick up across the nation, including on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. And leaked video from Obama’s party reportedly showed dozens of guests sans mask, even as the guest list for the event was said to have been significantly “scaled-down.” (According to Vanity Fair, some 700 guests were originally slated to attend.)
A slice of humble pie is in order
It all adds up to a bad look for the former president — one even a New York Times columnist couldn’t ignore.
“I think the nouveaux riches Obamas are seriously tone-deaf,” André Leon Talley, a fashion journalist and reality TV star who Dowd described as “the authority on opulence,” told the journalist of the former president’s event.
“We all love Beyoncé. But people have so many things to worry about with COVID, voting rights, climate warming. People are afraid of being evicted from their homes,” Talley said, according to Dowd. “And the Obamas are in Marie Antoinette, tacky, let-them-eat-cake mode. They need to remember their humble roots.”